Nova & Super Nova Awards

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Nova and Supernova Awards

What are the Nova and Supernova awards?

Nova Awards

The most common Nova Awards involve a group of requirements and activities in one of the STEM areas. The youth works with a Nova Counselor (BSA Position Code 58), completes the requirements and earns the Nova award.

Completing the initial Nova award results in the Scout earning a patch for wear on the uniform, while each subsequent award earns the Scout a pin to be worn on the patch.

Additionally, Nova awards are being developed continually, with requirements being posted on the BSA STEM Nova website. Occasionally, special Nova awards will be created for participation in certain activities, such as the STEM exhibit at the national Scout jamboree or the STEM Trek at Philmont Scout Ranch.

SuperNova Awards

Supernova awards require more in-depth and complex involvement. Earning a Supernova award involves earning several Nova awards plus completing other requirements. An adult Supernova Mentor (BSA Position Code 52) will guide and support the youth working on the Supernova award requirements, sign and submit the award application to the Longhorn Council for review and approval.

How to get the Nova and Supernova Awards.

The earning of Nova awards should be reported to the Longhorn Council by the youth’s unit on an advancement report, and the patches and pins can be purchased at a Scout Shop.

Supernova award applications are sent to the Longhorn Council STEM Nova/Supernova Committee for approval. After approval, the medals can be purchased at a Scout shop.

Process for submitting a Supernova Award:

  1. Adult mentor submits Supernova Mentor application to the Longhorn Council STEM Nova/Supernova Committee, is approved, and is added to the Mentor Roster.
    1. (Application for Supernova Mentor must include:
      1. complete BSA application,
      2. Supernova Mentor Application, and;
      3. YPT2 certificate.)
  2. Mentor works with Scout to prepare and accomplish Supernova projects/activities and document completion of Supernova requirements.
  3. Mentor/Scout fill out Supernova application and obtain signatures.
  4. Send original completed application (keep a copy) to: Longhorn Council STEM Nova/Supernova Committee, PO Box 54190,
    850 Cannon Dr, Hurst, TX 76054
  5. STEM Nova/Supernova Committee meets monthly to review awards.
  6. Award application are reviewed for completeness.
  7. If incomplete, application are returned to the applicant.
  8. If complete, the committee then confirms that the Mentor is on the list of registered BSA Supernova Mentors, and has current YPT.
  9. Then the committee approves the award, or the Committee Chair replies to the applicant the basis for denial, usually with recommendations on how to complete.
  10. Approved applications are signed and stamped by the Longhorn Council STEM Nova/ Supernova Committee Chair, and forwarded to the Scout Executive for approval signature.
  11. The Council Staff Liaison obtains the completed, stamped, signed application, and scans the original for records. The applicant is notified by email with the scanned attachment.
  12. The applicant, Mentor or Unit Leader takes the approved award application to the scout store and purchases the award and the award is presented to the Scout with ceremony.

How do I become a Nova Counselor?

Adults age 21 and older with little to some knowledge of STEM topics can be Nova counselors. Counselors should be comfortable with high school math and science but not necessarily have a degree in or work in a STEM-related field or be an expert in the topic. It’s enough to have an interest in STEM and to be willing to look into the topics so that they can guide the youth. For instance, if you have ever gone fishing, dug a hole, or ridden a bike, you understand simple machines.

Submit the following:

  1. BSA application with Position Code 58
  2. Evidence of current YPT2.
  3. Deliver with original signatures to:  Longhorn Council STEM Nova/Supernova Committee, PO Box 54190, 850 Cannon Dr, Hurst, TX 76054

What’s the process to apply to be a Supernova Mentor?

A Supernova Mentor is the registered adult leader who will work with the scout to guide the experience, then sign and submit the award paperwork. The most important qualifications are the ability to work with youth at that level and an interest in helping youth with STEM.

  • Supernova mentors for Cub Scouts and Webelos must be an adults, age 21 and older, with some STEM knowledge and interest.
  • Boy Scout Supernova mentors require significant expertise such as being a hobbyist, having a bachelor’s degree in a STEM topic, or having work experience in a STEM-related field like mechanics, welding, etc.
  • Supernova mentors for Venturers require in-depth expertise as Venturers can become quite deeply involved in STEM topics and can do actual innovative research in some cases. Ideally, Supernova mentors for Venturers should be adults with in-depth knowledge of STEM and with experience in teaching, guiding, and mentoring young people. At the Einstein Supernova level, the topic may require an expert in a specific field.
  • These adults maybe a parent if they are working with more their own youth.

Supernova Mentor’s Guide:

To apply to become a Supernova Mentor, please fill out a BSA application, Position Code 52, and the additional Supernova Mentor Application, with evidence of your current YPT.  Deliver with original signatures to:  Longhorn Council STEM Nova/Supernova Committee, PO Box 54190, 850 Cannon Dr, Hurst, TX 76054

Do BSA Youth Protection rules apply to STEM?

Please remember the YPT guidelines when working with youth on Nova and Supernova Award projects and activities. This means two-deep adult leadership for all outings and activities and no one-on-one contact (one adult and one youth alone) in any case.

All registered adult leaders are required to be currently certified in BSA Youth Protection. This means taking Youth Protection training at least every two years, or every year for some councils. However, all adults, registered or not, including leaders, parents, mentors, and consultants, are encouraged to take and complete BSA Youth Protection training.

More information:

Longhorn Council STEM Nova/Supernova Committee members are here for you! We are a group of District volunteers who

  • Approve Nova and Super Nova Mentors
  • Approve Supernova Awards
  • Educate Scouters about the Nova Program
  • Provide resources to aid in earning the award

Longhorn Council STEM Nova/Supernova Committee Chair:
Coming Soon…

You may have district STEM chairs. Ask them about STEM activities in your council and district and at the Longhorn Activity Center. The unit guides give you detailed guidance on how to try a few STEM themes with your unit.

The most recent information, including new Nova awards and any program updates, can be found online at The Nova awards manuals are available at your local Scout shop or at :

  • Cub Scout Nova Awards Guidebook
  • Boy Scout Nova Awards Guidebook
  • Venturer Nova Awards Guidebook

Below are links to program level specific unit guides. Additionally, Boys’ Life magazine and Bryan’s Blog run features on various STEM topics. Local schools and universities may have STEM resources that will help you. A huge amount of material about STEM, including demonstrations and experiments, is available online. It can also be helpful to talk with leaders of other units about STEM and compare notes.